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Theater Review: ‘Writer hired as Macy’s elf. ’Tis the season.’

By Kim Cool

Venice Gondolier

December 12, 2018

Down to his last $20, an out-of-work writer (Steven Flaa), endures multiple interviews to land a not-so-perfect job as “Crumpet,” an elf in Macy’s Santaland department. As if landing the job was not challenging enough, whenever Crumpet or any of his fellow workers had collected $200, it had to be turned in at another department in the store, in person.

“Being dressed as an elf in Santaland is one thing,” he said, “being in the sports department as an elf is another thing.”

Oh, the trials and tribulations.

Time for another drink

Did I mention that Crumpet is a thirsty elf? Last year’s production was set in Santaland at Macy’s, in a set designed by Venice Theatre’s resident set designer Tim Wisgerhof, who also played the role of Crumpet. This year’s production is set in a New York City bar, close to Macy’s. This set also was designed by Wisgerhof, down to all the bottles on the back shelf, tables and stools for patrons and Christmas trees to set the season. Consider that he also has designed nearly an entire new set for the theater’s mainstage production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which opens Friday at the theater.

Time for a couple more drinks.

Crumpet is a thirsty elf, it seems, but then anyone might be, given the trials and tribulations of landing the job as Crumpet, let alone wearing that costume and dealing with all those children and, worse yet, their parents, for several weeks.

Crumpet, we feel your pain.

None too soon for Crumpet but possibly too soon for some in the audience, it was Christmas Eve, and Crumpet’s last night on the job.

While this is basically a one-man show, the antics of a lady helper at the bar added immensely to this production. Without uttering a word, she cleaned up after sloppy customers on her various appointed rounds at various times during the production. Just to confuse those of us in the audience who would like to applaud her performance.

Kitty Leonowicz is listed in the program as “Deck/Dresser.” In my opinion that is code for co-star. Even though she was not on stage very long, when she was she, handled her part well, never speaking a word. But, oh, those looks and the way she swept the floor. Kudos!

“Santaland Diaries” is directed by Dennis J. Clark with sound by Dorian Boyd and costumes by Jeanette Rybicki. Lighting is by Cindy Carruth with stage management by Jasmine Deal.

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